By Xiu Ying
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – From 2014 to 2018, the Labor Public Prosecutor (MPT) registered over 21,000 reports of child labor. The MPT estimates that there are 4,300 reports of child labor per year.
A total of 968 lawsuits were filed, and 5,990 conduct adjustment agreements, an administrative tool to prevent irregular conduct, were signed during that period.
To reinforce the fight against this type of labor, the MPT introduced, on Wednesday, June 12th, a national campaign called “Every Child Is Our Child. Say No To Child Labor”.
The campaign, featuring an animated film, asks adults: “Do you find it hard to imagine how bad it is for a child to sell things on the street? Start by imagining that it’s your child.” According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), almost 2.5 million children and adolescents between the ages of five and seventeen are working in Brazil.
Data from the Digital Observatory on Slave Labour, developed by the MPT in cooperation with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), show that between 2003 and 2018, 938 children were rescued from circumstances similar to slavery.
For Patrícia Sanfelici, national coordinator of the MPT’s National Coordination to Combat the Exploitation of Child and Adolescent Labor (Coordinfância), people often think that, by offering work to children and adolescents, they are helping them leave the street, to have a future, but this is not the case.
“They are contributing to the perpetuation of a cycle of misery, and may even bring serious damage to the physical, intellectual and psychological development of this youth or child,” she said.
The MPT emphasizes that only from the age of fourteen may youths engage in vocational training activities, solely in learning programs, and with all the safeguards in place. The campaign was developed by the MPT of São Paulo and will be extended to the MPT’s social networks all over the country.